The translation of the symbols and runes was as follows.
Im glad that you can understand this invitation card. It means you are not someone who was in Alcatraz just to fill the numbers.
Go to 13th Lanconbelle Street. There will be a test waiting for you there.
If you pass the test, you will become my assistant, and I will give you a reasonable, quite luxurious reward. If you fail the test, you will need to leave though.
Take note that you are not the only one that has the qualifications to become my assistant. You have quite a number of competitors.
Nikorei the Shaman.
"A test? Competitors? Does he want to make us take precautions against one another by telling us beforehand? Playing with our nerves before its even begun, huh?"
Kieran made a guess about Nikoreis intentions.
The test that the invitation mentioned had started as soon as Kieran had opened the envelope. He took another glance at the Main Mission, [Be the shamans assistant for three months], and shrugged helplessly.
The situation was perfectly clear. If Kieran did not pass the test and qualify to become the shamans assistant, he would fail the Main Mission.
The test should not be too hard though if the dungeon had a second dungeon difficulty.
Kieran was glad that the Special Dungeon had the same difficulty as when the player had acquired it and not the difficulty that the player was currently at.
Otherwise, the Main Mission would have changed and wouldnt have been just Be the shamans assistant for three months, but something even more precise related to Shaman Nikorei. The difficulty would also have increased tremendously.
Kieran would not let his guard down though, even though the upcoming test would not be that hard. He had heard quite a lot of stories about people failing miserably at easy tasks. Kieran was not keen on becoming the main character in one of those stories.
He would also not be satisfied with just completing the Main Mission.
Kieran took a deep breath and scanned his surroundings and the two-storey building before him.
The first thing he laid his eyes onto was the huge black gate shut tight in front of him. It was made of iron and steel and painted black. The original black paint had faded away, mottled by the rain and sun through time.
The brownish red rust and the mottled black paint mixed together, looking like a big patch of hardened blood on the gate. Anyone would have turned their eyes away from the eerie sight.
On the right side of the gate hung a rusty old gate sign. It was 13th Lanconbelle Street.
It was smeared with rust, but Kieran could still see the words clearly. This was where the test would take place.
He did not enter the building right away though. Based on his previous experience, there had to be a native or an item that would lead the player to the start of their mission every time they entered a dungeon.
The pattern might not remain the same as dungeon difficulty increased, but the Special Dungeon was set at second dungeon difficulty, so there had to be something that would aid the player.
However, 13th Lanconbelle Street was definitely not it.
Kieran turned his attention to a spot further away and saw a notice board on the other side of the street.
As Kieran walked over, it seemed to be nothing special. It was a paper notice board rather than an electronic one.
"Accident-filled 13th Lanconbelle Street!"
"Tragedy-stricken 13th Lanconbelle Street!"
"Haunted 13th Lanconbelle Street!"
"The place that frightens the most brave of souls!"
"Beware the ghost of 13th Lanconbelle Street for it has started to devour human souls!"
A total of five newspaper clippings were pasted on the notice board, all of them referring to 13th Lanconbelle Street.
The earliest article was Er966.7.12 and the latest was Er997.8.21.
Among the five articles, the first two were about the owner of the house, his extreme bad luck, and all the accidents that had happened after hed moved into the house.
The third article was about some kind of paranormal incident, the fourth was about a non-believer who had moved into the house, only to be scared away after one day, and the fifth and final one was about a homicide. According to the article, a drunkard had barged into the house and had been discovered dead on the iron gate the next morning.
Kierans attention was focused on the fifth article, which was different that the rest.
Other than the fact that the drunkard had hung to death in front of the gate of 13th Lanconbelle Street, all the other information was mere speculations and guesses.
"Is the test to solve the mystery of the house?"
Squinting, Kieran turned his attention back to the house.
13th Lanconbelle Street seemed unusually quiet under the shade of the trees around it. If the eerie broken gate did not spoil the atmosphere, it would had been a good place for people to take shelter from the hot sun.
"Hold on! What about the gate?"
Kieran quickly turned around. He read through the fifth article once again from beginning to end before running over to the big gate. After a thorough inspection, he raised his eyebrows.
He had found something interesting, but there were still some other elements that needed to be verified.
Kieran left Lanconbelle Street without any further delay.
He came back at nightfall.
Lanconbelle Street had already been quiet during the day, but during the night it was covered in darkness. Even the street lamps had very limited use.
The only difference was that the iron gate was open. Kieran, who was standing outside, could clearly see lights through the windows.
It wasnt electrical light bulbs, but candles.
The small candles did not shed much light to the darkness of the night. Quite the opposite, they made their surroundings seem even darker than before, especially when the light dimmed and brightened with the wavering candle flames. The trees in front seemed twisted under the candle flames. They looked as if they were possessed by demons trying to extend their claws and teeth towards Kieran.
The trees that provided shade and comfort to people were gone. Instead, they inspired fear and terror.
Kieran did not care though.
He went through the gate and along the stone path that led to a small staircase and eventually to the door of the building.
His rhythmic knock on the door spread through the night.
A set of heavy footsteps could be heard approaching the door slowly.
As the door pivot rubbed against the frame, its squeaky sound sounded like a punch to the ears.
When the door opened slowly, a face appeared under the wavering candlelight.
Er997: The in-game era